Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Spanish in Europe

I am now posting at www.unprofessionalfoul.com about La Liga, with my La Liga Lowdown posts coming out Tuesday or Wednesday.

Here are some thoughts about the performances of the Spanish teams currently in Europe.

I took one for the team and watched all 3 Champions League games involving La Liga teams:

Auxerre 0 Real Madrid 1

Real were all over Auxerre in the first half but slowly the French team, who finished third last year, came into match and had a few chances in between shots of varying quality from Real.

Lass and Marcelo were the biggest attacking threats for Real for the first sixty minutes. Marcelo up the left wing and Lass everywhere. CR7 disappeared for long stretches. Xabi Alonso had a fantastic game pulling the strings. The game screamed for Ozil and he came on early in the 2nd half. Didn’t make the impact that I thought he would, instead it was the other sub Di Maria who came in and converted a half chance to secure the 3 points.

Defensively Real look solid and were really only opened up once but Iker was there to save the day. Speical mention for Pepe, who had a great game. Auxerre should definitely be able to push Ajax for 3rd and maybe a runner up spot if Milan slip.

Real are all but in the knockout phase where the expectations will be ratcheted up big time.

Rubin Kazan 1 Barcelona 1

Rubin stunned the defending European champs last season and put them on the brink of elimination at one point. Well guess what? Déjà vu all over again. After Pedro hit the cross bar early, Rubin converted a PK after half an hour and then parked the Russian bus. FCB struggled to develop plan B (shocker) and looked like short of ideas. Messi came on at the hour mark, Iniesta won a PK, and Villa converted. The last thirty minutes were better, with, wait for it, Obafemi Martins coming and creating all sorts of havoc, even having a chance to win the match outright.

Pep made a couple of changes in the squad, with Masch playing the Busquets role. He looked better but was eventually subbed out to make way for Messi. His transition has been slow and I’m hoping he pays off in the second half of the season.

Barcelona have Copenhagen home and away and should progress with no problem.

Valencia 0 Man Utd 1 (Should have been watching the Spurs game instead.)

The Red Devils came to Spain with no Rooney, no Valencia, no Giggs and no Scholes. The first half was dreadful to watch, with the exception of Pablo from Valencia. He started brightly and played in several good balls. For the most part the packed midfields cancelled each other out and Soldado missed a gift chance that could have opened up the game.

Valencia eventually threw on a second striker in Aduirz and that gave a little more impetus to the attack. Their gamble did not pay off with a goal but they did create several dangerous chances and they were punished by Chicarito, a late United sub, who scored the only goal.

Valencia were very organized and may rue losing two points. A draw would have put them in pole position, especially with Rangers winning. United would only have had two points after two matches. I don’t see how Rangers will break Valencia down and figure Valencia should get four points over the next two matches, which will reduce the pressure on their trip to Old Trafford.

For the Europa League, work got in the way and I was only able to watch highlights and read match reports.

Atletico Madrid 1 Bayer Leverkusen 1

Atletico came back from a goal down to draw with Bayer Leverkusen. Reyes had a chance to win it but missed the diving header. The holders in this competition only have 1 point after two matches and have it all to do.

Note for FIFA and fantasy players: buy Atletico GK De Gea NOW!!

Villareal 2 Club Brugge 1

Jozy got the start and played 85 minutes for Villareal. Looks like the Yellow Submarine controlled most of the match and the twitterverse was abuzz as Jozy missed a couple of chances.

Villareal have 3 points and are 1 point behind PAOK Salonika, who they play next round.

Young Boys 2 Getafe 0

Young Boys (insert joke here) defeated Getafe with goals due to shambolic defending. According to the stats the game was pretty balanced, but based on the highlights I watched, Getafe didn’t do much.

Getafe and Young Boys are now tied on 3 points and behind group leaders Stuttgart who have 6 points. Getafe play Stuttgart next and will need at least a draw.

Dortmund 0 Sevilla 1

Sevilla travelled to Dortmund and won with a goal in first half stoppage time. Dortmund’s Schmelzer got a second yellow early in the second half but Dortmund hit the post and had another chance saved off the line. This was a big result as Sevilla try to kickstart their season.

Sevilla are back in the group, only 3 points behind PSG. If they take maximum points against last placed Karpaty Lviv, they will have a real chance at progressing.

No comments:

Post a Comment